How does prayer symbolize other types of worship?



prayer is an encompassing luminous index of all types of worship and a holy map pointing to the colors of worship of all kinds of creatures. (Ninth Word; Third Subtle Point)

Here, Ustadh Bediuzzaman states that prayer, in a way, represents and points to all other forms of worship. How so?

We can see this when looking at various rulings regarding prayer. Eating, for instance, is forbidden during prayer, which symbolizes fasting. Turning to the qibla is mandatory, symbolizing hajj and umrah. Reciting the Qur’an is obviously included and so is covering one’s awrah. It also symbolizes zakat since we are given 24 hours on a day and are obliged to spend a portion (approximatly an hour) to worship.

Ustadh Bediuzzaman also discusses this somewhere else in his books stating that

“Indeed just as the Fatiha is an index for the Qur’an, the human being for universe, and prayer for good deeds. Because just as prayer (salat) encompasses fasting, hajj, zakat, and the rest of the truths, it also encompasses samples of the voluntary and natural worship of conscious and unconscious creatures. For example; it is a worship which reminds [one] of the worship of angels in prostration (sajda), bowing down (ruku’), and standing up (qiyam) and the state of rocks, trees, and animals which resemble those worships.” (Signs of Miraculousness, Surah al-Baqarah, Verse Three)

So in addition to being an index and a representative to all forms of worship commanded to human beings (eg. hajj, fasting, … etc), the five daily prayers are also a representative of how other beings worship God. For example, some animals are on the ground, some on four legs and some on two. This is the position in which they worship God, bringing to mind the various positions of prayer (standing, bowing down, etc). Now a question may come to mind, how do animals and unconscious beings worship God? That’s the topic of our next post, insha’Allah.

Finally, this topic is also discussed in the eleventh word to some length, explaining how the various dhikrs and movements in prayer point to different obligations and positions in worship.


Leave a Reply